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Imagine Entertainment ups Justin Wilkes to chief creative officer

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has elevated Imagine Documentaries president Justin Wilkes to the role of chief creative officer. In his expanded role, Wilkes (pictured) will now be responsible for accelerating Imagine’s ...
January 25, 2021

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment has elevated Imagine Documentaries president Justin Wilkes to the role of chief creative officer.

In his expanded role, Wilkes (pictured) will now be responsible for accelerating Imagine’s creative output and artistic strategy under Grazer and Howard’s direction.

He will also be tasked with creating and enabling creative opportunities across the company by working closely alongside Imagine’s division heads for Film, TV, Docs, Branded Entertainment, Kids & Family and International units, as well as Jax Media and Alex Gibney‘s Jigsaw Productions.

The Academy Award-nominated, Emmy and Peabody-winning producer will continue to lead the production outfit’s acclaimed documentary division that he launched alongside EVP Sara Bernstein.

Imagine additionally stated that Wilkes will help the company “focus towards a cohesive creative vision that will link to and guide Imagine’s strategic and business goals.”

“Over the years, he has shown he is creatively ambitious, has a keen eye for talent and story, and has the ability to masterfully execute his productions,” said Grazer and Howard in a joint statement. “He is a powerful producer and collaborator, and incredibly talent-friendly, engaging with storytellers in a way that allows them to actualize their vision and maximize their abilities. We are excited for him to work across all of our divisions to further the creative ambitions of the company.”

“There’s so much creative IP being generated within the building, led by our talented division heads, and I genuinely look forward to unlocking even more potential across our entire slate and creative output,” added Wilkes.

Wilkes joined Imagine in 2018 as president of Imagine Documentaries, developing and producing premium feature documentaries and non-scripted television. Notable releases since the division’s founding include Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, National Geographic’s Rebuilding Paradise, ESPN’s D.Wade: Life Unexpected (ESPN), Apple TV+’s Dads, Disney+’s On Pointe, and Netflix’s Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel from prolific documentarian Joe Berlinger.    

Forthcoming projects from Imagine Documentaries include Martin Scorcese’s New York Dolls documentary (Showtime); Julie Cohen and Betsy West‘s Julia (Sony Classics); Antoine Fuqua‘s The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO); Rory Kennedy’s documentary on the Boeing 737 Max (Netflix); Barbara Kopple’s The Supermodels (Apple TV+); Amy Poehler’s Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz documentary; and Ron Howard’s feature doc on José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen (Nat Geo).

Wilkes, the long-time president of entertainment and a partner at RadicalMedia, and Imagine have previously teamed on a number of projects, with Wilkes having produced Jay Z’s Made in America alongside Grazer and Howard, and the National Geographic documentary/fiction hybrid series Mars, which Wilkes co-created and executive produced.

At RadicalMedia, Wilkes had a hand in producing and exec producing a slate of award-winning projects, including Liz Garbus‘ Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning What Happened, Miss Simone?; Joe Berlinger’s Oscar-nominated Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory; the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, Bobby Kennedy for President, Abstract: The Art of Design and The Ted Bundy Tapes; the critically-acclaimed New York Times docuseries The Fourth Estate for Showtime; and Hamilton on Disney+.

Photo credit: Davi Russo

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